Campuses nationwide, including CU, took part in a virtual seminar discussing campus sustainability Wednesday afternoon.
Students, Environmental Center (E-Center) faculty members and other CU department faculty members attended the fourth annual Campus Sustainability Day Web Cast. This year’s title was “Where is your Campus on the Continuum of Integrated Sustainability Planning?”
The goal of the seminar was to discuss sustainability on campuses and to provide universities with an understanding of where they stand on the continuum.
“I’d guess that a few hundred schools took part today,” said Marianne Martin, associate director of the E-Center. “CU has been a leader in campus sustainability, but this is a great opportunity to learn from our peers and tap into a national network.”
The Web cast featured guest speakers from Arizona State University, Grand Valley State University, Pima Community College and Harvard. The speakers, some of which were students who were very involved with their schools sustainability efforts, shared what their schools are doing for sustainability planning.
The speakers from ASU, Jim Buizer, executive director of the office of sustainability initiatives, and undergraduate student Aliya Buttar, talked about ASU’s efforts with urbanization.
“If (sustainability) can be done (in Phoenix) it can be done anywhere,” Buizer said.
For the first time in 2007, ASU will offer students a degree in sustainability through the addition of its new School of Sustainability. ASU is also working towards eco-friendly residence halls that provide honor classes in sustainability.
Other campus representatives spoke about their school’s efforts to receive high green building ratings, or achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). These ratings measure the design, construction and operation of green buildings, as well as providing a standard for new buildings to meet on campuses nationwide.
After the Web cast, an informal lunch discussion took place allowing attendees to voice their concerns or talk further about topics brought up in the Web cast.
“There are a wide variety of people here today: mostly faculty, E-Center staff and people who are operationally involved through their own departments,” Martin said.
Concerns and positive highlights were brought up in the discussion, but E-Center director Dave Newport pointed out a few key things.
“I think U.S. higher education is responding to this need. There’s a lot at stake, but I’m very optimistic,” Newport said.
He also highlighted CU’s efforts with recycling, bus passes and alternative energy resources.